Monday, August 28, 2017

Atomic Blonde

This is a movie that should have been a slam dunk. A couple big stars, some 80s nostalgia, based on a solid graphic novel, and a lot of high-octane action from a noted action director. So why did it end up with a lukewarm reception? In my opinion, it's going to be hard to pinpoint, because it wasn't any one thing. It had all the right parts, but couldn't get the alchemical magic going to rise above merely parts.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Fated (WW)

(As a reminder, Writing Wednesday is when I slip a book review in between the movie reviews.)

This weekend, my wife and I drove up to Canada and back. Among other things, it gave us a chance to check out an audiobook. We picked Fated, the first book in the Alex Verus series by Benedict Jacka. We mostly got the book because we'd heard that there is a Harry Dresden call-out in it.

Cars 3

Pixar has a pretty staggering track record of amazing movies. The first Cars movie was where I decided that I should always trust them. The premise looked thoroughly stupid, but the movie ended up being very good. Then Cars 2 came along and really betrayed that trust. To the point that I never saw Planes, or the Fire and Rescue sequel (and I've never heard word that I missed much). So I had VERY low expectations of Cars 3. To the point of not planning to see it.

But then we got free tickets (because we are giant Disnerds), so we went. And I'm very glad we did. This movie got right back into the groove that Cars set up, and took the story to the logical-but-surprising next step. It didn't blow my mind, or make me cry, or knock any of my favorites out of their place. But it was a good, solid movie that was fun, touching, real, and had some good messaging.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Fantastic Beasts

and Where to Find Them. But wow, that title is too long.

Short version: This was a fantastic return to the Potterverse. While it may not be a top-shelf movie in general, it easily sits in the upper tier of Potter movies, and I look forward to watching it on ABC Family FreeForm for years to come.

Monday, November 14, 2016


Arrival is a smart sci-fi movie that is far more about us than it is about the aliens. How do we communicate with aliens? How do we react to them? And, very importantly, how do we trust them when we can't even manage to trust each other?

I highly recommend seeing this movie before the twist gets spoiled for you. Well, twists. There are a few. It is one of those, like Sixth Sense, in which the shock is important for the full emotional impact.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Privilege of the Sword (WW)

(I started a bit before this site went into hiatus called Writing Wednesday, in which I review a book instead of a movie. Here is an attempt to resurrect that bit.)

If you frequent Audible, you have likely run across the series of Neil Gaiman Presents. One of fandom's favorite authors is using his celebrity to call attention to, and provide some excellent dramatic readings of, books he particularly likes. I recently listened to The Privilege of the Sword, by Ellen Kushner.

Short version: You have to take this on faith, but bear through the first third of the book. This one is a slow burn, but you will end the book in love with it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


If you have seen the trailers, you know what kind of movie this is. If you haven't seen the trailers, do yourself a huge favor and watch them first.

If the trailers didn't make your ears bleed or make you throw things, then you will enjoy the hell out of this movie. It is a pixie stick movie. Pure sugar rush, with nothing really substantial underneath. Yet somehow, when we're done, we just want more.